A History Lesson

C: Drunken Politics' hidden agenda is simply to encourage curiosity in the American Political System. Fortunately, a fine bunch of Americans, (un-associated with Drunken Politics in any way, shape or form), publishes one of the Interweb's great collections of American Political history. For aficionados such as ourselves and our loyal readers this is an absolute gold mine. Enjoy.


Perhaps one of the greatest sites ever created. Unfortunately, addiction counseling for this magic is not provisioned for under the new Healthcare law.


Something Happened

C: For all of our loyal readers, Drunken Politics has not been asleep at the switch. For the most, Community service, Antarctic expeditions and Seychelles safaris have been placed in a holding pattern.

Where have you been, you may ask? Our non-partisan global commitment to provide at reasonable locally competitive rates in numerous languages and currencies ( i.e. in addition to dealing with customs officials and sensitivity to the wide-ranging norms, mores of cultures and the occasionally complicated barter systems of traditional 'non-recognized' societies) magic makers, acrylic paint, poster placard board, rounded safety scissors and an assortment of JoAnn fabric samples for flag-making keeps the team busy. As well as a growing Elmers Glue and complete out-of-the-box papier-mache figurehead solution. Note: We do not provide lumber or matches or kazoos. The board meets next month to discuss expansion into the crowded funny hat marketplace.

Right then. If one was not paying attention, a Historic Healthcare bill became the Law of the Land March 22, 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the mildly controversial bill with 22 different pens. A small portion of Congressional Republicans are under the impression that the signed legislation is still a debatable work in progress. Schoolhouse Rock could not be reached for comment at this press deadline.

Drunken Politics analysis to follow.


Texas Two-Step

J: So, it's Primary Day down here in the Great State of Texas. Along with the usual passel of local offices, we've got some interesting races on the ballot. First off, the judges. The judiciary in Texas is elected, and people can make campaign contributions to the candidates... even in the courtroom, while the judge is hearing your case. In some ways, this state is still the Wild West.

But the big race this year is for the Governor's office. Anyone who studies Texas politics will realize that the true political power lies with the Lieutenant Governor, but the Office of the Governor holds more national sway. (See: Bush, George W.) The race on the Democratic side this year is fairly one-sided, with former Houston Mayor Bill White holding a rather sizable lead in every poll over businessman Farouk Shami. Why someone named Farouk Shami thought he could get elected to statewide office in Texas- especially as a Democrat- is beyond me, but that's another story for another time.

The Republican race was the more interesting one, with Governor Rick Perry facing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Tea Partier/9-11 Conspiracist Debra Medina.

One of the things Texas happens to do right is early voting. giving citizens the chance to cast the ballot when they're available, rather than a small window of time on a random Tuesday- I support this. Anything that provides a greater opportunity for enfranchisement is a good thing in my book. So, I took advantage once again.

Because Texas is an open primary state, you declare your party when you go inside to cast your ballot. Looking at all my options, I felt that my vote would be more valuable in a certain primary. So, when the old guy at the early-voting site asked me in which party's primary I wished to vote, I looked around, made sure no one could hear me, and half-whispered "Republican". As I was walking over to the voting machines, I stopped and looked at my voting registration card in horror.

They had stamped it. With the "R" word. I was marked. I felt a variety of emotions- shame, denial, anger... bargaining... depression... acceptance. I made my decision, I would live with it. Even though I will vote for a third-party candidate before I will vote for a Republican, even though I still have an "Obama 08" sticker on my Honda, I had made my decision, and I would live with it. I later found out there are two reasons they stamp your voter card, and one of these would loom large in my future.

Having cast my ballot early, I thought long and hard about the second part of the Texas primary. If you look at our archives, to this post, you'll see that I described Texas primaries in simple terms. "It's a vote, then a caucus. Two thirds of the delegates are apportioned by the vote, the other third are divided up via caucus results. And you can't caucus unless you voted in the primary." The two reasons they stamp your card? One is so you can vote in case of a runoff, and the other is so you can participate in the caucus.

I'd thought about it ever since I voted, and decided that I would indeed take advantage of this. I would go to the Republican Caucus in my area, and see what it was like. I imagined a number of interesting scenarios playing out, and thought I would first support Teabagger Medina, and then Senator Hutchinson.

I was set. I had a plan, I had ideas. Yes, this would be good. As I drove to the caucus location, I felt like Hunter S. Thompson heading to the 1972 Republican Convention. This would be it- my chance to see how the other half thinks, behind closed doors.

I got to the local middle school, and the parking lot was absolutely slammed. I finally found a spot behind the school. My sense of civic pride was through the roof. This many of my fellow Americans, coming out to participate in a direct (if somewhat archaic) form of Democracy. If a bald eagle had flown overhead and crapped an American flag, I wouldn't have been completely surprised. I saw a stream of people heading through a door, and I fell in line with them... straight to an auditorium, where the school was having a choir recital.

I got out of line and saw a uniformed police officer. I asked him where the voting area was, and he gave me directions. I went around the corner, into the gymnasium. Of course it was in the gym. I don't know what the statistics are on the percentage of American ballots that are cast in a school gymnasium, but I know it would be high. I walked towards the older woman who was sitting at the table. (You have seen this woman. She is the same old lady that serves as an election official at every vote, nationwide. I think they clone them.) She saw me walking up, voter card in hand, and immediately said "Sorry, honey. Polls are closed."

"No, ma'am. I'm here for the caucus."

"Oh, well then you're in the right place. Have a seat."

I looked at the assembled group. A lot of long hair, mainly worn in ponytails. The women's hair tended to be dyed in colors that don't occur in nature. I looked back at the election official and discreetly pointed to the REPUBLICAN stamped on my card.

"Oh, sorry, honey. You need to go down that hallway until you get to the other gym."

I went in, and saw two people seated on the bleachers. A man in khakis and a dress shirt, and a girl in all black. The guy was filling out papers. I said "is, um, is this the Republican caucus?"

The guy told me it was, and asked me what district I was from. I told him, and he said "Oh. I'm the chairman from another district. Stick around, there might be someone from your district who had instructions."

I waited until the prescribed start time of the caucus, and no one else had shown up. I asked the guy- who had mentioned he'd been through Precinct Chairman Training- what to do. He said "Well, you could call it a night. Or, if you're willing to fill out a couple of forms, you could get the paperwork from the Officials and volunteer."

"For what?"

"To be the Precinct Chairman."

I thought about it. I'd volunteered my time, and I'd be damned if a couple of forms were going to keep me from making my voice heard. After all, I hadn't had a drink all day, just so I could go to this caucus and be part of the process. I wasn't going to throw all that away, just because no one showed up to pick up some random packet.

And this is how a man with an Obama sticker on his rear window, a man whose 5 year old son has a Che Guevara t-shirt, a man who thinks Dennis Kucinich has a lot of sensible positions- this is how that man became a Republican Party Precinct Chairman in Texas.

Round 2 is on the 20th. It should be interesting.

C: The DrunkenPolitics North Desk is exceptionally jealous of the Southern Desk's opportunity to make Chorizo. Stupid, boring Oregon mail-in ballot bullshit. The opportunity to participate publicly is gloriously American. Secessionist Six-Gun Perry kicked someone right in the taco. Sheesh, Kay Bailout got killed. More important, scrubbing the moss off the Blimp, (we left it behind the garage over Winter). Propane. Hydro. Bio-gas. Flammables. The DP Blimp is coming to a town near you.

It took a few years for us to wring some crap from this stone. The Southern Desk has raised the fucking bar. Hunter S. Thompson would be proud. Dammit.